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Preview of SPE's Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition.

ANTEC 2006, the 64th Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition of the Society of Plastics Engineers, promises a first-class program for SPE members and guests alike. Set for May 7-11 at the Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C, ANTEC is the plastics industry's leading peer-reviewed technical forum, providing the latest information on cutting-edge technological issues and developments. SPE event planners report that registrations and exhibitor bookings are running at the same high level as recent ANTEC conferences in Boston and Chicago. An excellent turnout is expected.

Strong Technical Program

"We have a good, strong technical program this year that provides something for everybody," reports Technical Program Chair Austin Reid Jr., Ph.D. "The New Technology Forum has some very interesting topics that I think will have broad appeal. I don't think anybody will be disappointed in the program," he says, noting that the overall quality of the technical papers accepted for the conference is excellent.

Podium presentations are scheduled for Monday, May 8, through Wednesday, May 10. Interactive poster presentations will be held Tuesday in noncompeting time slots. The technical program will offer 105 podium and interactive presentations. A total of 576 papers were accepted for this year's technical program. They will be compiled on CD-ROM and available at a special price during the conference.

"Technical paper presentations fulfill SPE's primary goal of equipping members with information to help them obtain a competitive edge," says SPE Executive Director Susan Oderwald. "They also offer presenters the chance to establish themselves as leaders in their areas of expertise," she adds, encouraging all members to consider submitting abstracts for next year's conference.

The Fellows Forum which developed out of a Fellows Task Force chaired by Dr. Reid last ,ear, will be a highlight of the program. "We'll have an afternoon session on Monday that will kick off with the [SPE] International Award winner as the first speaker. Other speakers will discuss various aspects of either cutting-edge technology or historical perspective with new developments," he says. The Fellows Forum was so well received last year, the planners decided to hold it again.

Compelling Plenary Sessions

The Plenary Program speakers selected for ANTEC 2006 are expected to draw large audiences, notes SPE Senior Event Manager Lesley Kyle. All Plenary sessions are scheduled for 11 a.m. in the Charlotte Convention Center. Monday's program features Kevin Mickey, VP of Program Management for Scaled Composites, which built SpaceshipOne, the record-setting privately manned spacecraft. Scaled Composites, founded by Butt Rutan in 1982, is an aerospace and specialty composites company. It is working with Sir Richard Branson's company, Virgin Galactic, to develop a commercial spaceliner to offer suborbital flights for tourists in 2007 or 2008.

Tuesday's plenary speaker is Dr. Lloyd Goettler, professor of Polymer Engineering and director of the Institute of Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron. His presentation, "The Emergence of Polymer Nanocomposites," will track the incorporation or generation of nanoscale structures in polymer matrices to form nanocomposites for the purpose of property enhancement. Dr. Goettler, an SPE Fellow and long-time member of the Society, will also discuss the current and future value of this technology to the plastics industry and whether it will remain limited in scope or interact with and complement other new or existing technologies.

On Wednesday, the plenary session will feature a panel discussion titled "The Plastics industry in India: The Next Frontier. "This is new territory for ANTEC, and we're very excited about this session," says Ms. Kyle. "Many experts agree that the next frontier will be India. This dynamic panel discussion will be led by frontline experts and will offer an overview of what the future holds for the Indian manufacturing and plastics industries and how they compare to the U.S."

Kicking Off ANTEC

The Opening Reception, always a highlight of the annual conference, takes place Sunday evening, starting at 8:00 in the Hilton Charlotte Center City, the ANTEC Headquarters Hotel. Earlier in the day, a series of Fundamental Tutorials will be offered. The series, introduced last year at ANTEC in Boston, presents an excellent educational opportunity for people new to the industry.

Sponsored by the Polymers Center of Excellence in Charlotte, three one-hour modules on extrusion, injection molding, and testing (new for 2006) will be offered.

Also new in the Fundamental Tutorial series is a two-hour session on vinyl. The series, included in the full-conference fee and seminar registration fee, provide a glimpse into some of the material offered in the in-depth SPE Seminars program (see sidebar). Also this year, the SPE Divisions and Special interest Groups had the opportunity to add tutorials within their technical sessions. Those offering tutorials are Injection Molding, Extrusion, Thermoforming, Vinyl Plastics, Thermoplastic Materials & Foam, and Radiation Processing of Polymers.

A highlight of the conference on Monday is the Annual Business Luncheon, which follows the Plenary Program. Presiding at the luncheon will be SPE President Len Czuba. He will be succeeded in office during ANTEC week by Timothy W. Womer, VP, Engineering and Technology, Xaloy Inc. A Fellow of SPE, Mr. Womer is a recognized authority in plastics technology and machinery, with a career spanning 25 years.

The formal opening of the Exhibition Hall is at 8 p.m. Monday with the traditional reception, another highlight of the conference. Ms. Kyle reports that the Charlotte Convention Center offers an expansive, open floor plan with great visibility throughout Exhibition Area. "We'll have an SPE Member Lounge, where folks can meet and greet and relax. We'll also have a Cyber Cafe, with high-speed internet access to check email at no charge. That's always a big hit," she says.

A new social programming event has been added in response to attendees' requests for additional networking opportunities, she notes. On Monday evening, buses will take attendees to Charlotte's Discovery Place, a science and technology center, which will feature an exhibit of 2000-year-old fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The ticketed event will be a unique opportunity for networking and socializing, adds Ms. Kyle.

New Technology Day

Tuesday is New Technology Day. The first of two New Technology Forums, "Polymer Surfaces at the Nanoscale," runs from 8 to 11 a.m., leading up to Dr. Goettler's plenary presentation on nanocomposites. The forum brings together noted experts in the field to discuss the latest development in nanostructured polymeric materials and modification, manipulation, and characterization at the nanoscale.

The second New Technology Forum, "Active and Intelligent Packaging," cosponsored by the SPE New Technology Committee and the Flexible Packaging Division, is scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday. That session includes a general overview and the latest developments in the field. Topics include active sealant layers, sensory enhancers, migration and transmission control through novel polymer chemistry, biocides, and the latest developments in additives for active and intelligent packaging.

On Wednesday evening, the main event is the annual banquet, "SPE Celebrates!," at the Hilton. The festivities in this ticketed event start at 7 p.m. with cocktails, followed by dinner and a two-hour program honoring SPE members for their achievements. About 100 awards will be presented at the banquet. New for this year is the Pinnacle Award, which will be presented for outstanding service and performance in SPE Divisions and Sections.

Most Valuable Conference

Len Czuba, current SPE President and a member of SPE since 1975, considers ANTEC a key resource for every plastics professional. "I recognized early in my career that SPE was the organization that would help me in my job and help me grow professionally. I have always made the commitment to attend ANTEC if I go to no other conference in the year," he says.

"ANTEC is a wonderful conference for two reasons-the technical program, where we hear about new developments in our industry and the networking opportunities between sessions and on the exhibit floor," he observes. "And don't forget about the opportunities to socialize and have a lot of fun at ANTEC. I enjoy the receptions, the business luncheon, the banquet," he adds. "I always have a great time at ANTEC."

SPE surveys show that people attend ANTEC for a variety of reasons. The technical program helps people understand the impact of new technology, broaden their understanding of the plastics industry, and build new skills. Top reasons given for attending include: learning about previously unpublished research and findings, advances in technology, and solutions to their challenges. People shop for materials and services, develop and reinforce vendor relationships, and network with peers and industry leaders.

ANTEC Guest Programs

Three programs have been organized for guests. On Monday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lowe's Motor Speedway of NASCAR fame is the main attraction. Guests will be able to tour the facilities, see exhibits of racecars, and ride around the racetrack by bus. On Tuesday, guests go on a daylong tour of the Historic Biltmore House and gardens. Priceless works of art and furnishings collected during George Vanderbilt's world travels are on display.

On Wednesday, a tour of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is featured. Over 110 acres of lush, manicured gardens, fountains, and abundant wildlife await. SPE negotiated special pricing for the guest programs, making them an excellent value, notes Ms. Kyle. Weather should be perfect for a morning stroll n the gardens. The average high in Charlotte in May is 80[degrees] and the Average low is 58[degrees]F.

Golf fans may be interested in attending the Wachovia Championship, one of the premier stops on the PGA Tour. It is scheduled for May 1-7, the week preceding ANTEC, at Charlotte's beautiful Quail Hollow Club. Ticket information is available at the website See sidebar for other attractions in Charlotte.

Advance registration for ANTEC 2006 ends April 14. Attendees will find the hotel rates in Charlotte more agreeable than rates in other recent ANTEC cities, notes Ms. Kyle. The Hilton's rates are $160 single/S180 double, and the Westin Charlotte is offering rates of $163/$183 per night. Both hotels are located adjacent to the Convention Center. They have agreed to honor those special rates for three days preceding and three days following the conference for guests who want to extend their visit in Charlotte, reports Ms. Kyle.

About the "Queen City"

Known as the "Queen City," Charlotte is considered a hidden jewel of the South waiting to be discovered. The city of 615,000 inhabitants offers family-friendly attractions along with world-class dining and shopping opportunities. In sports, it's the birthplace and home of NASCAR and home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers and NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. Charlotte was voted the nation's "Most Livable City" by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Travel to ANTEC 2006 is easy. Charlotte is the national hub of US Airways, offering service to more than 100 cities, including direct daily service to London and Mexico City. Lufthansa also offers daily service from Munich.

Once in the City Center, visitors can ride the Gold Rush trolley or Streetcar #85, a vintage electric streetcar traveling a two-mile route through Historic South End. Riders can hop off at stops along the way to explore antique shops, museums, galleries, and fine restaurants along the way.

In addition to the three sites mentioned under ANTEC Guest Programs, the city offers a variety of attractions. Among them:

* Discovery Place. Considered the South's foremost hands-on science and technology center, it features 300-plus exhibits, including a living rain forest. There is also the large-screen Omnimax Theatre.

* Paramount's Carowinds. This 105-acre theme and waterpark features thrilling rides and movie-themed attractions. The "Borg Assimilator" is the Carolinas' first flying coaster.

* Blumenthal Performing Art Center. Three performance venues offer a wealth of entertaining plays, concerts, operas, and other performing and visual arts events.

* Mint Museum of Art. North Carolina's first art museum is housed in the first branch of the U.S. Mint. Featured is a collection of American fine and decorative arts.

* McColl Center for Visual Art. Housed in a renovated church, it is committed to enhancing and promoting visual arts and exhibiting the work of contemporary artists.

* Levine Museum of the New South. This interactive history museum offers an interpretation of post Civil War Southern society, illustrating the profound changes that have taken place locally.

* Concord Mills. The region's largest shopping mall, less than 15 minutes from Center City, is home to 200 restaurants, outlets, and retailers, including Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World with a 23,000-gallon aquarium.

SPE Seminar Program

Twenty-six seminars will be offered at ANTEC 2006 in a range of subject areas, including injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, thermoforming, materials, product design and development, color and appearance, engineering properties and structure, and marketing and management. The seminar program, centered at the Hilton Charlotte Center City, requires a separate registration. Seminars typically run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Four injection molding seminars are offered. Virtual Workshop in Troubleshooting the Injection Molding Process, led by Robert Beard, provides the tools to reduce rejects, decrease cycle time, and increase profitability. It features the Paulson Training Programs' "Simtech" software program. Other seminars in this group are Injection Molding Technology, led by William Frizelle; injection Molding Tooling Standards with William Tobin; and Injection Molding: Advanced Concepts and Analyses, with Lawrence Schmidt.

Eight extrusion seminars are offered: Die Design Principles for Extrusion of Polymers--Leonard Sansone; Fundamentals of Extrusion--Keith Luker; Blown Film Technology & Troubleshooting--Paul Waller; Twin-screw Extrusion Technology Adam Dreiblatt; Practical Applications for Melt Rheology in Polymer Processing--Pravin Shah; Profile Extrusion Design & Advanced Processing--Daniel Cykana; Extrusion of Engineering Plastics--Pravin Shah; Co-extrusion: Principles & Practices--Eldridge Mount III.

A complete listing of the seminars, schedules, and pricing can be found online at Follow the links to ANTEC 2006 and Seminars. Online registration for seminars is available at the site. SPE Seminars are also open to nonmembers at higher enrollment fees.
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Title Annotation:ANTEC 2006 Preview
Author:Stewart, Richard
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Previous Article:Polyester-based films target medical applications.
Next Article:About ANTEC.

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